Chef reviving landmark Mustard House for restaurant

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Chef Max Brody is making over the so-called Mustard House at the intersection of routes 202 and 22 in Buxton into a restaurant named Buxton Common.

Chef Max Brody is making over the so-called Mustard House at the intersection of routes 202 and 22 in Buxton into a restaurant named Buxton Common.

This framing will be used for an addition at the Mustard House that Max Brody is converting into a restaurant.

Renovations of the Mustard House are underway.

BUXTON — A chef with international experience is converting a well-known Buxton landmark into a restaurant.

Max Brody is taking a hands-on approach to renovate the interior of the historic home, formerly called The Mustard House, into a restaurant he’s naming Buxton Common. It’s well positioned at the busy intersection of routes 202 and 22.

“We’re rehabbing a 1790 colonial,” Brody said.

A general contractor is building an addition and Brody is refinishing woodwork in the house. “I’m helping out where I can, ” Brody said. “It’s full steam ahead.”

Brody, 46, hopes to open the restaurant next March or April. Plans call for inside seating for 60 in multiple dining areas and 20 more on a deck.

He’s installing a facility to smoke meats, such as sausages, bacon and whole chickens.

His goal is to provide a family meal experience and he’ll have takeout available. “I want check averages to be affordable for families,” he said.

He envisions patronage from Buxton, Gorham, Hollis, Salmon Falls and Westbrook. He anticipates employing local help, too, eight full-time workers and four part-time.

Brody has been associated with restaurants since age 10. His mother, who lives in the Boston area, is a cookbook author and corporate chef. He previously worked in New Orleans, Boston, New Mexico and worldwide. He once worked at a restaurant in a former monastery in Tuscany, Italy.

For a decade, Brody operated his own high-end restaurant, The Night Kitchen, in Montague, Massachusetts.

Brody and his wife, Joanna, and their 8-year old son, Elijah, have lived in Portland for four years. His wife is a schoolteacher in Gray.

When their son was in kindergarten, Brody said, they were ready for a change and they relocated to Maine.

He discovered the Mustard House at 1420 Long Plains Road by happenstance while driving past. “I never thought I’d have a place in Buxton, Maine,” he said.

Brody said people in the area have a “strong connection” with the property, which is identified in the deed as the Ivory Libby place. The area has long been known as Duck Pond Corner. In recent years, the Mustard House served as an antiques shop.

Brent Hill of the Buxton-Hollis Historical Society said an 1852/53 Dennett map indicates the house was then owned by Stephen Flood, born in 1790. Hill said the York County Atlas in 1872 shows the Mustard House as owned by an L. Berry.

The property in an old photo appears to have been an active farm, he said, and the barn that went with the Mustard House was located on the current site of the TruChoice Federal  Credit Union.

So far, Brody has razed an ell, installed a large septic system and drilled a well. Curt Peffer of Gorham is the contractor building the addition with help from his father, Dana. Peffer’s mother bakes and deliveries cookies daily to the job site.

“Construction is well underway,” Brody said.

The restaurant will share parking with the credit union.

The area in town is blooming in what Brody called a renaissance with the wedding venue The Barn at Flanagan Farm nearby on Narragansett Trail and plans for Big Moose Harley-Davidson to build.

“A lot of things going on in this area,” Brody said.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or rlowell@keepmecurrent.com